An update on the effects of playing violent video games

The magnitude of these effects is also somewhat alarming. The best estimate of the effect size of exposure to violent video games on aggressive behaviour is about 0.26 (Fig. 2). This is larger than the effect of condom use on decreased HIV risk, the effect of exposure to passive smoke at work and lung cancer, and the effect of calcium intake on bone mass ( [Bushman & Huesmann (2001)]). As a society, we have taken massive and expensive steps to educate the public about these smaller medical effects, but almost none to deal with the larger violent video game effects. —Craig A. Anderson

Update: This link to the table of contents page lets me download PDFs. Your mileage may vary. —An update on the effects of playing violent video games  (Journal of Adolescence)

This is not your usual hand-wringing, scare-mongering article in a parenting magazine.

I hope to see the game-playing public and games researchers consider the implications of this report seriously, and not merely shrug it off as yet another example that, where gaming is concerned, “they” don’t “get it”.

Of course, those who argue that television shows, music, or books are positively correlated with increased violence (or what have you) risk being labeled a censor. The common refrain from the gaming community — it’s the parents’ fault, not the games’ fault — is as much of a cop-out as the parent who prefers to blame games (or some other media, or a peer group).

Is it possible to have discussions of taste and ethics concerning videogames, without either moralizing recklessly, or being recklessly accused of moralizing?

Via TerraNova, where the discussion started out very good but at the moment looks like it has resulted in more of the same old same-old.

After a conversation with Mike Arnzen, I’ve been on the lookout for scholarly works that are critical of gaming and gaming culture. Here’s a good one, according to Reality Panic: “Digital Play: The
Interaction of Technology, Culture and Marketing